Ohio Works First was established to provide time-limited cash assistance to eligible families through Ohio’s Temporary Assistance to Needy Families program, which emphasizes employment, personal responsibility and self-sufficiency. Cash Assistance is provided to eligible families for up to 36 months.

Ohio Works First Public Service Announcement
ODJFS Directors Message Regarding Ohio Works First

Case managers work with each adult participant to evaluate his/her skills, abilities and barriers to becoming employed. From this assessment, an individualized self-sufficiency contract is developed that defines the participant's obligations that must be fulfilled if they are to receive cash benefits as well as the supportive services that can be provided by the agency.


Eligibility is based on the family's income and the number of people living in the home. In addition, adults must be working or involved in an approved work activity for at least 35 hours per week.

Ohio Works First has the following additional requirements:

  • Adults and minor heads of household must participate in work activities.
  • Minor children in assistance groups and women who are at least six months pregnant may be eligible to receive individual assistance.
  • Children must reside with a parent, specified relative, legal guardian, or a legal custodian.
  • Unmarried minor parents and pregnant minors must be in approved adult-supervised living arrangements or live with a parent, legal guardian, specified relative or legal custodian.
  • Adults and minor heads of household who apply for or receive benefits must sign a self-sufficiency contract.

Failure to sign the self-sufficiency contract without good cause can result in sanctions affecting the entire family, such as denial or termination of benefits. The contract explains the requirements for the participant and the requirements for the County Department of Job and Family Services.

Who is NOT Eligible

Assistance groups are NOT eligible if they include an individual who:

  • Does not sign the self-sufficiency contract,
  • Does not comply with the terms of the contract,
  • Terminates employment without just cause while receiving transitional Medicaid or child care benefits,
  • Has income that exceeds the amount for the assistance group size,
  • Has received benefits fraudulently,
  • Receives Supplemental Security Income, or
  • Receives adoption assistance payments or federal, state or local foster care maintenance payments.

Other Individuals who are NOT eligible include:

  • Fugitive felons
  • Probation/parole violators
  • Individuals convicted for fraudulent misstatement of residence in order to receive benefits.


You may apply for Ohio Works First online by visiting http://benefits.ohio.gov, or by filling out the for Cash, Food and Medical Assistance” (JFS 7200) form and submitting it to Warren County Department of Human Services either via mail, fax, or in person. You may select this application and complete it, print it, and submit to our office.

  • Warren County Department of Human Services
  • 416 S. East Street
  • Lebanon, OH 45036

Please allow 30 days for processing of all public assistance cases. Due to a large amount of applications and re-certifications most cases will take the full 30 days to process. We greatly apologize for this inconvenience.


In February, 2009, the State of Ohio implemented the new Ohio EPPICard™ program. Cash Benefit recipients (Ohio Works First, Ohio Works First Work Allowance, Ohio Refugee Cash Assistance or Disability Financial Assistance) can now access their payments online using a MasterCard® debit card. Your payments are automatically loaded onto the card and you can go to millions of MasterCard® ATM and retailer locations in Ohio and around the world to make a purchase or receive cash.

Lost, Stolen Cards
If you believe your Card or PIN has been lost or stolen or that someone has transferred or may transfer money from your available funds without your permission, call us at 1-866-320-8822.